Main floor living a priority for Canadians who want to age in place

February 28, 2022 | Livabl

For older Canadians who want to enjoy their golden years living at home, main floor, single-storey living arrangements are one of the highest priorities on their wish list. A new survey recently published by Royal LePage reports that 43 per cent of respondents say that a “fully-equipped main-floor living space,” is essential for Canadians who plan to age in place.

Another 54 per cent said that single-storey living, which can accommodate a bedroom, full bathroom, laundry area and kitchen on one floor, was “desirable.” The national survey was conducted with 69 Royal LePage brokers and sales representatives who are experts in senior and accessibility housing. “Not all seniors are looking for the same home features, but what they do have in common is the desire to choose where and how they live, rather than have that decision made for them,” said Caroline Baile, a real estate broker and certified Accredited Seniors Agent (ASA) with Royal LePage Sussex. “In addition, they are thinking about their long term needs much earlier than previous generations. Even before retirement, many buyers are thinking about the features of a home that will help them transition into old age with ease,” she added.

Expenses associated with living in senior homes may be one of the reasons more of the older generations are choosing to stay at home as they age — 74 per cent of the survey’s respondents said that older Canadians are increasingly interested in aging in place due to concerns around the high costs of living in senior care facilities. Fifty-nine per cent also stated that concerns over the safety of senior facilities, which have been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic, may also be a factor. Another Royal LePage survey conducted by Leger last summer found that more than half (52 per cent) of Canadian boomers would prefer to renovate their current homes rather than move. “More and more, Canadians are choosing to right-size rather than down-size as they age,” said Baile, who said that some seniors may opt for a turn-key condominium with little maintenance or downsize to a bungalow with no stairs.

Forty-two per cent of respondents said that their older clients consider an entrance to the front and rear of the property without steps and a walk-in tub or shower with a wide entrance as essential home features. Another 57 and 51 per cent said that these components were desirable. Non-slip flooring was another hot-ticket item among older clients, which respondents said was both essential (38 per cent) and desirable (49 per cent) for homeowners.